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Commonwealth Youth Games opens today

Go Back : Express : Kwame Laurence : 03.08.2023

The long awaited Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) will get going today at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. The opening ceremony starts at 4pm.

The seventh edition of the Games was scheduled to take place here in Trinidad and Tobago in 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, forced its postponement. Two years later, the Games are back on.

A team of 74 athletes will represent TTO in seven sports at CYG 2023. The TTO charge will be led by swimmer Nikoli Blackman, a medallist at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.

A strong athletics team will do battle for TTO at the Crawford Stadium. Imanni Matthew and Janae De Gannes are keen to add more gold to their personal medal collections.

At the recent North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) U23 and U18 Championships, in Costa Rica, Matthew won the boys' under-18 long jump title with a Championship record leap of 7.71 metres. Matthew's big jump is also a national under-18 record.

De Gannes emerged victorious in the NACAC girls' under-18 long jump, disturbing the sand at a Championship record distance of 6.11m.

The Team TTO athletics contingent also includes the Frederick twins, Sanaa and Sole, Keneisha Shelbourne, Keeran Sriskandarajah and para athlete Isaiah Williams. Eleven cyclists will fly the Red, White and Black at CYG 2023. National junior sprint champion Syndel Samaroo heads the list.

Athletics, cycling and swimming will be hosted in Trinidad. The other four sports - beach volleyball, netball, rugby and triathlon - will be staged in Tobago.

In an Express interview, yesterday, Team TTO chef de mission Jehue Gordon called on T&T to rally behind the young athletes.

"The public should expect special performances from all the athletes they come out to support. The more support we have the better. This will lead to performances surpassing any expectations. We need the 12th man in the stands.

"The excitement is starting to build," the chef continued. "Teams are bonding and supporting each other. We can always do better. However, the coaches and managers are going above and beyond to ensure that their athletes are as best equipped as can be."

Gordon said the young men and women selected to represent Team TTO at CYG 2023 will give their all at the eight-day multi-sport event.